Wal-Mart Seeks To Repair Image

"Wal-Mart, concerned about its public image, is using a consultant to analyze that image and has commissioned radio and television ads to try to reverse criticism from local officials, consumers and others," Constance Hays reports. "It is the first time that Wal-Mart, known for parsimony in its business practices, has invested in 'reputation research' - using polling techniques, focus groups and phone interviews - and then spent more money to try to repair the distressing aspects of what it found." PR giant Fleishman-Hillard is tracking Wal-Mart's relationships with consumers, employees, bankers, community leaders and suppliers. Wal-Mart's rapid growth and economic influence have attract close scrutiny of the company's reliance on part-time workers, its treatment of female employees, and its distain for organized labor. "The project found that many people view Wal-Mart as a place of dead-end jobs, and that its performance as a corporate citizen leaves much to be desired," Hays writes. "To reverse the impression about its jobs, Wal-Mart is broadcasting three ads nationwide that portray it as a great place to work."